How do people deal with the torrent of information pouring down on us all? What sources can't they live without? We regularly reach out to prominent figures in media, entertainment, politics, the arts and the literary world, to hear their answers. This is drawn from a conversation with Sheryl Salomon, managing editor of The Root.
When I turn on my computer, the first thing I bring up is the The Root and The Washington Post. Throughout the day, I'll check with MSNBC and New York Daily News. We subscribe to The New York Times but it's more of a weekend thing for me. I love the Weekend Review and the Sunday Styles section and for years I've been a junkie of the wedding announcements, even though I've long been married. For magazines, I think New York has a combination of interesting features and a great web sensibility in their back of the book items.
I also enjoy Essence and Ebony. Those magazines tend to focus more on lifestyle elements whereas The Root will pay more attention to news, politics and social issues. For other outlets with a lens on African American life, I read Parlour Magazine, which has a global multicultural focus, Urban Cusp, with news from a nice young perspective, Color Lines, Richard Prince's blog, with information about the media industry, Crew of 42, which covers blacks in Congress, Crunk Feminist Collective, kind of like Jezebel, Black Web 2.0, on technology, and Black Snob.
On Twitter, I like to follow Roland Martin, who's constantly on, Rachel Sklar, and Melissa Harris-Perry, who's really smart. I also listen to Podcasts like Confab, every Friday, and Tavis Smiley when I have time. For TV, my favorite shows are The Voice and Mad Men.
At The Root, we have two things we want to do: Inform and provoke discussion. You can do "outrage of the day" but we try to get beyond that with substantive issues like changes in voter ID laws, racial profiling and criminal background checks. Take the issue with the blackface cake the other day. A top Swedish politician cut into a blackface cake but later it came out that the cake's artist was black. For that story, we offered a range of different viewpoints on the subject. We didn't just say, "Hey that's racist" and be done with it. For some of our writers, the fact that the artist was black changed the discussion. For other people, it didn't. It was an interesting debate.
The thing about the Internet is it's about instant gratification. It appeals to the ADD person in all of us: The part of us that's looking for constant stimulation. These are stories that we might say are clickier. In African American media, that brought about the rise of publications like Bossip and The YBF. But the Internet also brought about independent thinkers like Ta-Nehisi Coates. He's not afraid to take a controversial or contrarian view and deal with it in nuance. He's in a great category of writers of whom I would include Charles Blow and Jonathan Capehart.